The father of a deceased 16-year-old was arrested for building a higher guardrail on the side of a bridge where his daughter died. Cecily Mcree Hamilton died in March after the car she was in drove over the edge of a bridge in Gainesville, Georgia.
Shannon Hamilton, Cecily's father, watched as police pulled the car that contained his daughter and her boyfriend out of the river below. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. Hugged her freezing body and said goodbye.”
Hamilton claims that the teenagers would not have died if there was a guardrail on the side of the bridge. White County officials agreed with the sentiment and said that plans to build the sides are awaiting approval.
However, Hamilton said that he felt the progress was too slow. He did not want to witness another car being pulled out of the river.
“Every day that goes by is another day that we’re risking a life that goes into that creek,” he said.
Hamilton brought his own Bobcat excavator to the bridge to help with construction. According to WSB-TV, Hamilton said he planned to build a berm, which is a temporary ledge that would help prevent cars from driving off of the bridge.
The berm was meant to provide a temporary solution to the problem while local officials figured out the permanent solution.
However, White County deputies arrived before Hamilton was able to finish his work. They tried to convince him to stop and notified him that they would be forced to arrest him if he continued working.
The grieving father went back to work and was arrested for interference with government property while his son watched.
Gainesville Times reported that Hamilton was thankful that the officials understood the problem at hand. He said, “They had to do it. They had no choice.”
After being released on bond, Hamilton said that he has received an outpouring of support from the community. His son posted photos and a video to social media that have reached a wide audience.
Hamilton said that he did not want to break the law but that he was prepared to take matters into his own hands to protect families from an incident similar to his own.
He is also speaking at Cecily’s high school about safe driving.
As Hamilton explained, this is his way of coping with a terrible tragedy.
“Tomorrow’s never promised," he said. "It’s the way I’m grieving, and I’m staying positive to get through the days.”
Photo Source: WSB-TV, Kale Hamilton/Special (WSB-TV)